As U.S. inflation pushes up workers’ wages, a growing number of Americans are taking on second jobs to make ends meet.
Many people have already reined in spending where they can, while others haveTo cover rising costs of food, gas, rent and other essentials. Yet inflation, the highest in 40 years, is taking a heavy toll on millions of households. They make up three-quarters of middle-income Americans According to a recent survey to pay the cost of living.
“At the end of the day, there are only so many credit cards you can load up and avoid spending before you actually have to take a second job,” says Mark Cohen, a professor at Columbia Business School. told CBS MoneyWatch. “It’s about how much you bring in each month, how much you spend — if you’re in a deficit position, you need to find another job or additional employment.”
According to data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, as the pandemic unfolded in the United States in 2020, about 4% of employed people held more than one job in the United States. By June of this year, that number had jumped nearly a full percentage point.
Although fewer people are working multiple jobs today, more Americans than ever work two full-time jobs, working more than 70 hours a week. In June, 426,000 people were working in two full-time positions, compared to 308,000 in February 2020, according to federal labor data.
Also, more workers are facing financial hardship. That trend also reflects a strong job market and robust employment opportunities in the U.S., experts say.
“Historically, labor participation has gone up when the labor market is strong and down when the labor market is weak,” said Heidi Schierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. “It’s basically a question of job availability. We’re seeing this increase in multiple jobs because the labor market is strong.”
“no time to play”
Krisen Murphy, of Rockford, Illinois, is among those working two jobs. The 29-year-old works full-time as a sales representative for a water supply service company in Hinckley Springs, while also running his own mobile car wash and detailing business, called Murphy’s Portable Wash.
“I do it for extra money on the weekends to help pay the bills,” Murphy told CBS MoneyWatch.
In most cases, he is able to keep his spending in check. “I’m a real basic guy, I eat bread sandwiches,” he said. The extra work helps him cover expenses like higher electricity bills and higher gas prices.
Holding down two jobs forced Murphy to be extremely organized. “There’s no time to play around,” he said.